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PM1 vs D3100

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by nickotine42, Apr 27, 2012.

  1. nickotine42

    nickotine42 New to Mu-43

    Apr 27, 2012
    New user and new photographer. I'm looking to upgrade from a point and shoot after the birth of my beautiful first daughter (seems like new children spur allot of camera purchases). I've been looking into reviews for about a week now and have pretty much settled on a PM1. I love that it's the same picture quality of it's bigger brother, just with some minor tweaks to getting to the controls. To me it's seems like an insane value. I looked at the NEX-N, but added cost was a factor (trying to stay under $700). I have very limited experience with photography, but I'm really excited about learning a new skill.

    Advice needed:

    I need a camera that my wife can use in its simplest form (point/shoot, good picture quality), but something that will be a teaching tool for me to learn how to take amazing photos. I like the idea of the M43s kinda point and shoot aspect, but I don't want to limit myself into not getting a better teaching tool. Aperture, shutter speed, focal length are all terms that I'm unfamiliar with.

    Portable and fast. Got to keep up with the little one. The PM1 seems small in the specs and feel, but with the kit lens it certainly won't fit in a pocket. Maybe with the lens detached it could fit in a diaper bag or purse. I think a pancake lens would certainly fix the issue, but those seem to be doubling the cost. I am planning on buying the 40-150 lens as part of a bundle deal (unless it's better to put the $120 somewhere else) The DSLR bodies are indeed larger, but with the lens attached I feel like I'm in the same boat as the PM1 in terms of carrying it around. Can I get a pancake lens on a DSLR?

    Coming into this I was sold on the PM1, but I got to thinking. for about $100 more I could get an entry level DSLR. It's bigger, heavier, appears to be more complicated (wife may be intimated). Until I really start using it, I won't realize the limitations of the bigger size.

    Long Story short. Newbie looking for first real camera to learn on and is simple to use for.

    PM1 or D3100?
  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    I wasn't too happy with the D3100. Initial focus acquisition is fairly slow, though it does a good job of tracking once it has focus. It's kinda bulky and awkward compared to the mirrorless cameras, the kit lens is mediocre, and the viewfinder just makes things awkward.

    The PM1 feels like a compact with a big lens bolted on front, for better or worse. AF is fast, low light performance is adequate, you compose with the screen. I'm quite fond of mine.
  3. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    Don't even consider the d3100, because the d3200 24mp will be in stores soon.

    I vote EPM1!!
  4. Jonathan F/2

    Jonathan F/2 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 10, 2011
    Los Angeles, USA
    E-PM1 all the way! I had a D3100 briefly and I wasn't too happy about the quality. The E-PM1 will be perfect for your wife. I just gave my E-PM1 to my wife and she loves it. Very wife friendly. :smile:
  5. jff1625

    jff1625 Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 14, 2012
    get the e-pm1 body only, and get the panasonic 20mm f1.7 - if you can find one in stock! This combination fits in my jeans pocket, and the images come out looking much better that with the 14-42 kit zoom. The downside is the that you won't have a zoom. Until you buy one....
  6. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    The pancake lenses aren't that much smaller than the collapsible 14-42. They are both too big to fit in pants pockets.

    There are no Nikon AF pancake lenses but if you look at Pentax they do have some but they are pretty pricy.

    The 17 or 20 pancakes focus quite slow and don't take advantage of the PM1's fast focusing.

    If you get the Nikon, I would get it for the 35 1.8 lens.

    Demo body is 330


    35 1.8 is 200

    So total so far is 530

    So you can either add a demo 18-55 VR for 110 or 55-200 VR for 130 more and keep it under your 700 dollar budget.

    Although M43 is pretty small, most people that carry M43 kits carry bags that can carry a D3100 and couple of lenses.
  7. ntblowz

    ntblowz Mu-43 Veteran

    Nov 13, 2011
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Yeah, get 20mm 1.7 to give that nice bokeh image, or the 14mm f2.5 pancake u can get for cheap on ebay (<$170) which have fast focus and more slimmer

    I can fit the e-pl3+20mm perfectly into my other half's rather small purse, but anything bigger and its too fat, more often it the depth that get into the way.

    Or you get GF3X with the pancake zoom (<$480 on ebay) and get 14mm f2.5, it really a nice combo and quite small

    M43 kit is much smaller than DSLR, I tried with D5100 and G3 and Pentax K-5 with pancake lensand GH2 with 14mm, DSLR is certainly more depth and heavier, remember the depth is the major issue with interchangeable camera. The width and height can be smaller than some DC, but not depth

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  8. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    If you are solely ruling out the NEX because of price, why not get a NEX C3? It's most of what a 5N is. Some people have already put them on clearance due to the imminent release of the NEX F3. I've seen them in the mid $300 range. I know someone got one for $160ish. There's also the old school NEX 3. As low as $25 if you can still find it.
  9. pharaviel

    pharaviel Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 20, 2011
    Reggio Emilia, Italy
    Daniele Frizzi
    I vote epm1!

    Hei, do you imagine what kind of answers he would get on a nikon forum? :) 
    • Like Like x 2
  10. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    The EPM1 with the kit 14-42 will easily fit in a diaper bag. The two zoom kit offers a lot of versatility at a very decent price. With some experience you may want to consider other lenses but the kit is a great place to start. Don't over-analyze, start simple and learn where to go next.

    I hope you make lots of nice pics of your daughter.

  11. nickotine42

    nickotine42 New to Mu-43

    Apr 27, 2012
    Thank you all for the replies.

    I'm feeling better with the thought of skipping a DSLR (for now). Simplicity and size is what I'm looking for and it seems that the PM1 fits the bill.

    I discounted the NEX3 from the list because it didn't have an option to mount a VF in the future. That certainly something I would like to add and I'm hoping I can find a cheap optical one for the PM1. Would the kit and the 40-150mm be a good combo. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with the term bokeh, but this is exactly the type of photography I would like to take. Would the kit and/or the 40-150mm be able to produce that effect? Which would you choose the 40-150mm (and extra goodies, bag, filters, screen protector) or the 14mm f/2.5 G. I want to have the most flexible of options starting out before I get my feet really wet. In your opinion is the PM1 the best sub $500 kit available?
  12. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    For me, the reason for moving from P&S with a baby is good low light capability. The issue with the E-PM1 and kit lenses only is that they are really not a big upgrade over higher end P&S options (Fuji X10; Olympus XZ-1). If you are going to go m4/3s I think you almost need to commit to at least one fast prime lens. 20/1.7 seems like the choice here, either on the E-PM1 or the GF3.

    A refurb E-PM1 kit w/14-42 is $299 at Cameta -- LINK. Leaves $400 for the 20/1.7, which is more than enough when they are back in stock.

    While the the 40-150 is a great value lens, I don't think it is that useful for a newborn. You'll need that zoom more later.
  13. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    I think this is better advice than I gave. The only thing I would add is to consider the Olympus 45/1.8 as your low light lens. Frame filling photos of baby, baby and mom, baby and dad.

    Check out these two threads

  14. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    If you want distance separation, you need a 20 1.7 at a minimum. You can also get it with the 40-150 at the far end. But that's not very convenient.

    That's why I recommend getting a Nikon, you can get the 35 1.8 for 200 and the 50 1.8 for 200. The Nikon 85 1.8 is 500.

    You can get distance separation with M43 cameras but it'll cost a bit more.
  15. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Neither. Get the m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8. The Lumix 14mm f/2.5 is too wide, and the m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 is too slow. The m.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8 is fast and relatively long. The upcoming m.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 will be even better for producing lots of bokeh (out-of-focus areas), but it won't be here until later this year. Although either the m.Zuiko 40-150mm or the Lumix 14mm f/2.5 are better choices than the 14-42mm kit zoom, but even that can produce a lot of bokeh if used properly.

    If you don't mind manual focus (you may want to wait until you get your Electronic Viewfinder first, which will make your Manual Focus experience complete), you can also pick up some very fast and long glass for cheap, such as a slew of 50mm f/1.4 lenses or longer telephoto primes like a 135mm f/2.8 (if you like smooth bokeh, the Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 with Pre-Set aperture and 16 blades is considered the "Bokeh Monster"), or an 85mm f/1.2 or 85mm f/1.4 (better than the 50mm's, but not as cheap or plentiful).

    Or if you had a lot of money to spare you could also buy the Voigtlander 25mm f/0.95 Nokton or the Leica 25mm f/1.4 Summilux, which are both native Micro Four-Thirds lenses. The Leica has Autofocus but the Voigtlander has the shallowest DOF. They are probably both out of your budget though, from what you've said. A good fast 50mm f/1.4 on the other hand, can run you less than $100 with some even half that price. If getting a lot of bokeh in your shots is your goal, then anybody can afford a good lens to make that easy.

    That said, there is so much more to producing bokeh than just a fast lens. The m.Zuiko 40-150mm f/4-5.6 can produce wonderful bokeh and will do so much more readily than the m.Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 kit zoom. If you really can't afford any of the other options, then the 40-150mm will still be a big step up and will really expand your focal range.
  16. PointZero

    PointZero Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 28, 2011
    I would vote for the EPM1. If your wife's ability to use the camera is a factor, it's a more obvious choice. Throwing the EPM1 into iAuto, the camera does a fantastic job of generating JPEGs. This was a widely raved about feature with the EPL1, and it has only gotten better with the EPM1. I often throw my camera into my camera into iAuto and hand it off to friends to use. All the girls comment on how it's such a cute camera to use, and are not intimidated by the complexity of the camera.

    Buying into m.four-thirds is an investment into the system. We don't have as wide of a selection of native lenses to choose from, for your $700 budget. With that in mind, I would consider getting the EPM1 on eBay for around $424. You can pick up a 14mm f2.5 for $175 or 20mm f1.7 for $300, from the same source. Both choices fall under your budget, and give you both the stock lens for general use and a fast prime for lower light situations.
  17. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I don't know about the OP, but you've just sold me!! :biggrin:
  18. I can no longer find any good reason to recommend a DSLR over a mirrorless camera.
  19. BSH

    BSH Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 18, 2012
    All that lens advice is overblown. For baby/kid pics, the kit zoom is ideal. You can add more lenses for special purposes later. Speaking as a former diaper bag user, if you can't fit the EPM1 with a kit zoom in a diaper bag, you aren't packing your diaper bag right. :)  Trust me, the average diaper bag will have some diapers, wipes, full change of clothes, bottle, any necessary ointments, pacifier (plug), and your adorable little EPM1. That camera is an ideal size for your purpose, much more so than any DSLR.
  20. songs2001

    songs2001 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 8, 2011
    Your other option is to get a Samsung mirrorless. The 30 2.0 is cheaper than the 20 1.7.

    Also, you can get the optional EVF which is also cheaper than the Olympus version.
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